Saturday, June 12, 2010

Classic Recording Sessions - On This Date (6/12)

Ernest Tubb - 61 years ago
Sunday, June 12, 1949 (3:00 pm - 6:00 pm / 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm)
Castle Studio, Tulane Hotel, 206 8th Ave. North, Nashville 3, TN
Ernest Tubb: vocal, guitar; Owen Bradley: piano; Jack Drake: bass; Dickie Harris: steel guitar;
Mack McGarr: mandolin; Butterball Paige: lead guitar; Jack Shook: guitar.
Producer: Paul Cohen

Yesterday's post featured George Jones recording 3 top 20 records in one four-song session. Today, Ernest Tubb tops even that considerable achievement. 61 years ago today, Ernest Tubb recorded five songs in a split session (two before dinner, three after) that would all hit the top 10 on Billboard's C&W charts. Four of the songs would be issued among two singles concurrent with the sessions, while the fifth ("Driftwood On The River") was held until then end of 1951. Among the songs recorded this day are Tubb's composition for his soon-to-be second wife, "My Tennessee Baby" and Floyd Tillman's groundbreaking cheating song "Slipping Around" which would be a #1 hit for Tubb, as well as for Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely, and a #5 hit for Tillman as well.

This session differs from some other Tubb sessions of the era in that the recordings feature the mandolin, not something commonly heard on Tubb records. One of the reasons for this was apparently a humanitarian gesture on ET's part. Mack McGarr was a 19-year-old mandolin player with some health issues that caused Tubb to kindly extend an offer to feature McGarr on these recordings. Tubb said:

This was one of the things you do because you like someone and the man wasn't in too good health, and I wanted to give him work. I didn't want the fiddle... so I said, "Mack, can you play something else? Play mandolin." So I let him play on "Warm Red Wine," and this was one of the highlights of his life. He said, "...I've been playing all my life, and this is the first time anybody ever called my name on a record." And he was just thrilled to death. He didn't live too long after that... He had asthma so bad he couldn't hardly breathe. He went west and it was too late. He started having hemorrhages and finally came back home and died.

It's a sad story, but it was a kind act on Tubb's part. Tubb was a very successful artist in this era, and it's heartwarming that he was so willing to help out a fellow musician. This is a pretty historic recording session, and I hope you enjoy as much as I do...

1 comment:

Johnny said...

ET is one of my all time favorites. The story about the mandolin picker just makes me love ET even more. Great post and thanks for the story.